Game Report: Padres 5, Cardinals 3

Adam Wainwright’s return to the Cardinals’ rotation did not go well on Sunday and afterward he said he experienced more pain in his right elbow, likely raising concerns and questions about his future.

Wainwright came off the disabled list to make his first start since April 17, against the Padres in San Diego, and could not get past the third inning. He walked six of the 15 hitters he faced, the most he had ever walked in any of his 281 career starts.

He needed 79 pitches to record seven outs, and with Jack Flaherty scheduled to start Tuesday and Alex Reyes on his way shortly, whether Wainwright can retain a spot in the rotation is probably a topic of conversation the team will need to have in the next couple of days. Wainwright said after the game that he though he re-aggravated his elbow injury while warming up before the first inning. He said he will be returning to St. Louis to get a new medical checkup.

Wainwright allowed only one of the nine hitters who reached base to score, but he left the bases loaded and one of those runners inherited by John Gant also scored as the Padres went on to earn a split of the four-game series after the Cardinals won the first two games.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals were held to just five hits and two runs by Clayton Richard, who struck out 10 in his eight innings. Harrison Bader drove in the first run in the sixth with a triple, following a walk to Tommy Pham … Bader then scored on a single by Jose Martinez … Bader also accounted for the third run when he led off the ninth with a home run. The Cardinals loaded the bases with one out against Brad Hand but left all three runners stranded when Carson Kelly and Kolten Wong struck out to end the game … The Cardinals have hit just three doubles in their last seven games, covering 240 at-bats, and have 10 homers over that same span … They have scored a total of 37 runs in their 11 games so far in May, with 17 of them coming in two games, one against the Cubs and one against the Padres.

On the mound: After taking over for Wainwright, Gant allowed four hits and two runs over 3 2/3 innings. He struck out four and did not walk a batter … Brett Cecil worked a 1-2-3 seventh, striking out two, before Matt Bowman allowed the final Padres run in the eighth.

Key stat: Their six hits in 31 at-bats left the Cardinals with a .216 team average this season against left-handed pitchers. Dexter Fowler struck out as a pinch-hitter against Richard, who came into the game with a 1-5 record and a 5.72 ERA. Fowler now has one hit in 30 at-bats against left-handers this season.

Worth noting: To make room for Wainwright, the Cardinals sent John Brebbia back to Memphis before the game. Brebbia pitched two-plus innings in the 13-inning loss on Saturday night … Reyes will make his second of four scheduled rehab starts on Monday night in Peoria. He is eligible to come off the 60-day DL on May 28 … Richard became just the sixth left-handed starter since 2001 to strike out 10 or more Cardinals in a game, although Clayton Kershaw has done it four times. Francisco Liriano did it twice with the other games coming from Jon Lester, Jon Niese and Barry Zito.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals will spend Monday’s day off in Minneapolis before beginning a two-game series Tuesday night against the Twins. Flaherty will make his third start in the majors, still looking for his first career win. He has gone 4-1 in five starts at Memphis.